a story as nutty as fruitcake
There’s a new documentary about a famous scandal at a beloved Texas fruitcake company. Called Fruitcake Fraud, it covers the notorious case of husband-and-wife Sandy and Kay Jenkins, who embezzled more than $17 million from Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, north of Waco, and it debuts this week.
It begins streaming Wednesday, December 1 on Discovery+. Check out the trailer here, featuring interviews with principals, including Bob McNutt, the president of the bakery, who amenably eats a piece of the often maligned confection on camera as if to prove it can be done.
Collin Street Bakery is known the world over for its fruitcakes, getting 10,000 to 20,000 orders per day during the holiday season. But as a release notes, that fruitcake empire began crumbling in 2013 when embezzlement fraud was discovered, and occurred right under the noses of the bakery employees.
The money was stolen by Sandy Jenkins, who worked as an accountant at the company for a decade. According to government records, he and Kay Jenkins blew it on trips on private jets, shopping sprees, and purchases of 38 vehicles, including a Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Bentley, and Porsche.
They almost single-handedly kept one Dallas location of Neiman Marcus in business, spending $1.2 million and earning themselves the nicknames “Fruitcake” and “Cupcake.”
When the management at Collin Street Bakery began to notice a deficit, they hired a new accountant, who uncovered Jenkinses’ multimillion-dollar scheme.
After the Jenkinses were arrested, authorities recovered 532 luxury items, including 41 bracelets, 15 pairs of cuff links, 21 pairs of earrings, 16 furs, 61 handbags, 45 necklaces, nine sets of pearls, 55 rings, and 98 watches, valued at $3.5 million, plus $580,754.90 in cash, a wine collection valued at $50,000, and a Steinway electronic piano valued at $58,500.
From the release:
Featuring a cast of colorful characters and a story much nuttier than one of Collin Street Bakery’s fruitcakes, Fruitcake Fraud dives deep into the baffling case that left the FBI, the U.S. attorney’s office, and the good people of Corsicana scratching their heads in amazement. How was it possible for one man to embezzle millions for almost a decade without anyone having the faintest clue – especially in a small, tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone’s business? Over the course of the 90-minute special, clues, luxury goods, stolen money, witness and investigator accounts, and local Corsicana gossip are pieced together to reveal a delectably twisted tale of greed and conspiracy … topped off with just a bit of sugar and small-town flair.
“Fruitcake Fraud is not just about one of the most unexpected fraud cases to ever cross the desks of the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office; it’s a testament to the folks at Collin Street Bakery that even after this massive fraud, they are still standing and brightening everyone’s holiday season with their iconic fruitcakes. If that doesn’t get you into the holiday spirit, I don’t know what will!” says Jason Sarlanis, president of crime and investigative content for Discovery. “We are so grateful to the wonderful people of Collin Street Bakery and the community of Corsicana who opened their doors to us and helped us shed light on this baffling case. Whether you like fruitcake or not, you’ll definitely enjoy this unbelievable true-crime story.”
Sandy Jenkins died in 2019 in a federal prison in Seagoville; Kay Jenkins served five years probation.
The tale has sufficient intrigue that it was already budgeted for a feature film starring Will Ferrell in the role of Sandy Jenkins. But according to a spokesperson, that production got delayed by COVID-19.